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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 17 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 17 Jun 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Morphology, mixing state, and hygroscopicity of primary biological aerosol particles from a Chinese boreal forest

Weijun Li1, Lei Liu1, Qi Yuan1, Liang Xu1, Yanhong Zhu1, Bingbing Wang2, Hua Yu3, Xiaokun Ding4, Jian Zhang1, Dao Huang1, Dantong Liu1, Wei Hu5, Daizhou Zhang6, Pingqing Fu5, Maosheng Yao7, Min Hu7, Xiaoye Zhang8, and Zongbo Shi9,5 Weijun Li et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
  • 3College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, 310036, Hangzhou, China
  • 4Department of Chemistry, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • 5Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, 300072, Tianjin, China
  • 6Faculty of Environmental and Symbiotic Sciences, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Kumamoto 862-8502, Japan
  • 7State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 8Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 9School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

Abstract. Biological aerosols play an important role in atmospheric chemistry, clouds, climate, and public health. Here, we studied the morphology and composition of primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) collected in the Lesser Khingan Mountain boreal forest of China in summertime using transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Of all detected particles > 100 nm in diameter, 13 % by number were identified as PBAPs. In addition, 57 % of the PBAPs were identified as bacteria, followed by brochosomes (24 %) and fungi (19 %). The dominant size of bacteria was 1–4 μm, fungi was 2–4 μm, and brochosomes was 300–500 nm. The number size distribution of PBAPs coupled with the mass concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were used to estimate the total mass concentration of PBAPs, which is approximately 1.9 μg m−3 and accounts for 47 % of the in situ PM2.5–10 mass. C, N, O, P, K, and Si are detected in all PBAP particles, and P represented a major marker to identify PBAPs. Moreover, there is a higher frequency and concentration of PBAPs at night compared with day. Bacterial and fungal particles displayed weak hygroscopicity with a growth factor of ~ 1.09 at RH = 94 %. Electron microscopy shows that approximately 20 % of the bacterial particles were internally mixed with metal, mineral dust, and inorganic salts in the boreal forest air. This work provides a database for both further understanding physicochemical state of individual PBAP particles from natural sources and expanding the scope of atmospheric implications.

Weijun Li et al.
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Weijun Li et al.
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Short summary
The real state of individual primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) derived from natural sources is under mystery, although many studies well evaluate the morphology, mixing state, and elemental composition of anthropogenic particles. It induces that some studies mislead some anthropogenic particles into biological particles through electron microscopy. Here we firstly estimate the full database of individual PBAPs through two microscopic instruments. The database is good for research.
The real state of individual primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) derived from natural...